Emergency 911

When I little, we moved around a lot, but for two years, when I was in kindergarten and first grade, we lived in the same house in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. It was yellow and had a scary basement that would flood every spring. As the snow would melt, the water in the basement would creep up and up and up, and then suddenly, we would wake up one morning and it would be waist deep. That basement got cursed a lot, because a sub pump would need to be brought in to get all of the water out, and then everything would need to dry out and be cleaned up, but the wet, dank smell stayed, no matter how much bleach or Lysol was used.

While living in this house, my sister and I became friends with the two girls that lived across the street from us, Jennifer & Stephanie. Jennifer was my age and Stephanie was my sister’s age, so it just worked out.

Winters in Minnesota are harsh, but that didn’t stop us from playing outside. Jennifer and Stephanie had cute, girlie snowsuits and Jennifer had white snow boots with fake fur at the top. I only remember this because I was so jealous of those boots. I had a black and navy blue snow suit and moon boots. I looked and felt ugly when I had my snow clothes on, and I’m pretty sure that was the plan, since my older sister was dressed in a similar fashion but my younger siblings had cute, girlie snow clothes. moonboots

We would go outside and spend hours turning the piles of snow in the front yard into snow forts, with tunnels and rooms with sky-lights. Then fresh snow would fall and we’d have to dig out the old fort and add on to it. Once it was as intricate as we could get it for the day, we’d hang out in there, sheltered a bit from the wind and cold of the outside, our little escape from the world. We’d spend hours in there, but eventually, I wouldn’t be able to ignore the need to use the bathroom anymore, and, doing the dance, I’d have to crawl through the tunnels out of the fort and make an awkward run for the house.  Emergency 911. I have got to go!

The coast was not clear once you reached the house, however. Remember all the snow clothes? Off would come the hat and gloves and then my frozen fingers would go after the laces on my moon boots, which had inevitably somehow gotten into knots. Once the knots were out, I could pull off my boots, which always pulled off my socks too. Next, I’d start on the belt, and snaps and velcro at the neck of my snowsuit. By now I was really dancing. Finally, I’d reach the one long zipper standing between me and getting to pee. More than once, at this point, I’d rip the zipper down and it would get stuck, about chest high, trapping me. The more I’d pull, the more stuck it would get and I would get more desperate.

At this point, one of two things would happen. Either the zipper would magically release and I’d jump out of my snowsuit, making a barefooted, mad dash for the bathroom, or, and this was the one that happened more frequently, I’d pull and pull and pull on the zipper, getting it more stuck, and when I couldn’t hold it anymore, I’d pee my pants. Well, I’d pee my pants AND my snowsuit. Of course if I actually made it to the bathroom, I could then get all bundled up and go outside again, but it was sweet relief either way. It was just more work if I peed my pants since I’d then have to get changed AND wash all my clothes and snow clothes. And maybe it was a bit embarrassing.

I started thinking about this story after I had told my youngest to do something at least five times before she did it. I was so frustrated that she had to be told OVER and OVER and OVER. I was beginning to wonder if she was special needs and I just hadn’t realized it, but then I thought of this situation from my childhood. You would think that it would only take one time of this happening for me to decide that I was going to go to the bathroom BEFORE it became a big emergency, or to pull the zipper down carefully so that it wouldn’t get stuck, but that was never the case. I guess I was a slow learner, because this did happen several times.

You will be happy to know that I haven’t peed my pants in quite a while. Of course, I don’t wear snowsuits anymore either, so that certainly helps.




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